If there is one thing society has stripped from us, it is our desire for the quest. When we can order almost anything we could possibly need from the confines of our own homes, what that takes from us is what we need the most: the journey. The digital age takes us straight to the destination.
If you think about the way our ancestors lived, they would have to walk into the woods or the ocean for their food, and their livelihood. It required a game to be played with nature, survival was sport, and man earned every wonder of life. Man saw such beauty and horror in his existence that he reasoned it could only be the force of a divine creator. Life and love existed as they were intended to be, and man’s struggle against an untimely death pushed him forward to be better. Nowadays, convenience is king. We pick up the phone and order our food, we drive to a place where everything has been collected for us and put on display. Among life and love, life has been put upon us in a way that hides from us what we desire the most.
And as for love, it suffers too. People have become so broken by the new survival game, the 9 to 5, the endless data stream, that they cannot deal with the effort of keeping together a relationship, most likely because we do not have to rely on the support of others anymore to make it. This is why I can watch a pair of ducks in the park that have been mates for their whole lives, but my parents still being married is a rare occurrence among people their age, and much younger.
This is why I believe the youth of our nation act out the way they do. Because we have nothing to believe in, and most of us don’t realize it. Everything is planned out, and whatever we want comes instantly, and this has made us lazy beyond any shred of belief. Societies like this foster not only substance abuse and suicide, they also foster something even stranger, and more abstract to the human experience: art. But even this is coming into question. The most recent example I can remember was walking through the halls of my high school, I overheard something that has become a common theme among my peers.
“I hate these stupid goddamn books they assign us. Reading is pointless and boring.”
Or something to that effect. The irony was that this girl was talking about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a book in which modern society has outlawed books in order to not have to think about the grand scheme of things, only the distractions and small pleasures offered to them. Having read the book, I saw a lot of parallels between this work of fiction and the world today. Everyone has their headphones in, everyone has walls of televisions and computers to draw them away from the mundane, everyone is disconnected from other human beings. We are questioned harshly when we step outside of the normal sphere of thought. Our hedonism stems from a shallow desire to fulfill what we have lost over time.
It is a lie that what we need the most to thrive is safety. I only see it as a gateway to complacency and weakness. As for myself, I continue to seek out what I love, what I feel peace in, what will give me lasting pleasure, and what I feel will make my life a worthy exchange for death. For now the closest thing I have to this is music, but even that is transistory. Many people would tell me that God will give this to me, but I think it is the mountain.
More Reading: Boredom, Depression, and Purpose